Poll: Americans Support Road Map but Question Its Chance for Success

Most Americans want to see Palestinian deeds, not just words, when it comes to stopping terrorism and making peace with Israel, a new poll shows.

Released on the eve of the first visit to Washington by the new Palestinian prime minister, the poll by the Israel Project in Washington also found that a majority of Americans back President Bush and his “road map” to an Israeli- Palestinian peace.

But they remain largely pessimistic that it will bring that peace.

Only 36 percent surveyed thought the president’s efforts would succeed, in contrast to 52 percent who thought they would not.

“This poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support President Bush’s involvement in the peace process, even though they have their doubts about the ability to succeed,” said Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrahi, president of the Israel Project.

The poll, conducted for the Israel Project by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 800 registered voters nationally July 21-22.

It came just days before the new Palestinian Authority prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, was scheduled to meet with Bush and others, including American Jewish leaders.

Americans say the Palestinians must take concrete steps to fight terrorism, the poll said.

“Americans want peace, but they recognize that the Palestinian leadership must be willing to disarm and jail terrorists and stop the culture of hatred that is standing in the way of peace,” Laszlo-Mizrahi said.

According to the poll, 95 percent of Americans agreed to varying degrees with the statement: “Palestinian leaders need to do more than just say they are against terrorists, they need to arrest and disarm terrorists and jail those who are known to be responsible for killing innocent civilians.”

Meanwhile, 88 percent agreed with the statement: “Before the Palestinians are allowed to establish their own nation, they need to stop teaching their children to become terrorists. This includes ending the incitement of violence on their public television station and in their textbooks.”

Among other key findings:

59 percent called the U.S. promise of aid to the Palestinians a “step toward peace,” while 29 percent said it would have no effect;

78 percent said a hudna, the Arabic word for a temporary cease-fire, was not sufficient, and that terrorists should be disarmed and jailed, while only 15 percent called a hudna sufficient; and

83 percent said Israel should not release prisoners who have killed Israelis; 11 percent said Israel should release all prisoners.

The poll had a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points.

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